Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the poet and translator, born 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm



What are you thinking

The way I talk is funny

It is your vernacular

You think only you know how to laugh

Gosh as bright as the Sun

Lighting up unexpectedly my ancestor’s graves


Within each drop of blood (I shed each month)

The tears of my parents


Cut and dig

Dig then cut

Cut dig


You understand?

My ancestors are forever in your debt.




Bạn đang nghĩ gì

Cách tôi nói chuyện ngộ ngộ

Ngôn ngữ của bạn mà

Bạn nghĩ chỉ có bạn biết cười

Ôi tươi như mặt trời

Sáng cả mả tổ tiên tôi


Trong mỗi giọt máu (tôi xả mỗi tháng)

Là nước mắt của cha mẹ tôi


Mổ và xẻ

Xẻ rồi mổ

Mổ xẻ


Bạn hiểu?

Tổ tiên tôi mang ơn bạn.



By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

7 replies on “Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | THE VOICE OF REFUGEES – GIỌNG NÓI CỦA NGƯỜI TỊ NẠN (43)”

Writing towards the voice(s).
Responding to what was written.

My tears, my smile and laughter.
They can’t keep up with yours.
Cold eyes I had for far too long.
I am just one of many souls.
A seeker, a thinker, a sorrowed heart.
I haven’t bleed, it wasn’t mine.
If I would have to, make it mine.
The tears wiped clean with my hands.
To see the future in your own hands.
I am just a sorrowed soul.
Your lives should have been safed.
Your lives were meant, could you just be.
Why do they have to bleed, why hurt, why lost.
Told to be life or to be said what it cost.
Would wish for things a different way.
For you and me and all to stay.
For life and love and hope I pray.
For all the debt my soul would pay.
But isn’t meant, or is it? I can’t tell.
I heard, I wouldn’t hear the bell.
But was it a wedding, a cemetary or my hell?
No bell ring I would need.
Could I make stop the bleed.
As if a darkened seed.
Was meant for a last deed.
Deep sorrow for the losses.
Deep sorrow for the pain.
Deep sorrow in the rain.
Deep sorrow down the train.
But could the train not stop some time?
Makes it worth all the darkness in the tunnel.
When the head of the train continues alone.
Driving into the abyss on their own.
Our wagons would stand.
Our own new claimed land.
Open doors, bright sun light.
When the world just feels right.
Should the track being blocked.
Should the driver be shocked.
Won’t the train some time stand?
On our claimed land.
And if I have to, I will leave.
With the locomotive, christmas eve.
Don’t ask how, don’t ask when.
Will we know and see then.
And if not, what should I say.
At least it was another day.


Liked by 3 people

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